Study Design

September 15, 2010
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Commentary on the Peer Review Process

December 9, 2009

Ah peer review…

Just in case there is confusion about why Hitler is appearing on the blog, please consult our newest blogroll member, Know Your Meme.  They did a wonderful job explaining Autotune to my parents over the Thanksgiving weekend (featuring Weird Al!).


Right Red Said What?

March 6, 2009

Red Right Turn ArrowMy well-known hatred of the modern implementation of traffic lights (for which I am sure future generations will mock us) notwithstanding, a recurrent question at lunches past involved the meaning of the red right turn arrow in North Carolina, especially the one located at the I-40 exit to RDU Airport (#295b).

The basic question is this: If a red right-turn arrow means the same thing as a typical, circular red light — for which you are allowed to make a turn after coming to a stop — then why would they have the red arrow?  Certainly most drivers treat it as typical stop sign, but sometimes someone will, in my opinion quite reasonably refuse to turn despite blaring horns from the ever-growing queue behind them of drivers trying to get the airport.

As with many things in this great nation, this law varies randomly depending upon state:

Map showing right turn on red arrow is legal in North Carolina and some other states

Fortunately for RDU drivers, North Carolina is one of the states that allows right turns on red arrows. Unfortunately for anal-retentive physicists, this means that red right turn arrows are nearly degenerate with the only possible additional information being that they indicate that a lane is turn only when red.  At least we’re not the only ones who get confused, the News and Observer blog post I linked to above follows a history of similar posts.

Unlike the behavior of the typical, dangerously unaware, vigilante drivers you sometimes find in Durham (thanks in part to the idiotic “Pace Car” program whose Google Page Rank I will now tag with the word “douchey“) confusion in this case would seem rest at the feet of the NC DOT who feels the need for redundant signage.  So I won’t honk at someone as they make me late for a flight, but I certainly wish they’d phase out the red right turn arrow.


Two is a trend

November 14, 2008

Congrats to John for ending the drought!

I thought I’d share a link that touches on a number of Lunchtime! themes, however inspiring or sad that might be. Namely: sports, lists, Duke, spelling/grammar mistakes, and poor judgment.

On an unrelated note, I recently saw Mulholland Drive for the first time. Let me toss out this conversation starter: WTF?!?

Finally, as one of the few Americans at the institute, I’ve been congratulated on our recent elections more times than I can count. Since I’m sure this is disproportionate to whatever amount of credit I actually deserve (first time voting in a swing state!), let me at least pass along the sentiment.


They Play Football at Duke?

August 5, 2008

A couple of quick-shots as you watch your favorite baseball team fall further and further from contention. (So this is what it feels like, Joe?)


The Summer of George*

July 9, 2008
The Summer of George

Brian's "Summer of George"

After my first year (read: two semesters) of living in the real world, I still hadn’t sold the house I’d lived in while in grad school. So, to save money on rent, I moved back in with my parents for June and July. My biggest fear going into this arrangement, other than a loss of a great deal of privacy and independence, was the prospect of being unconscionably bored.

So far, it seems I needn’t have worried. Within two days, my father came down with what he estimates to be his fifteenth or sixteenth kidney stone. Less than a week later, a young woman driving an SUV rammed into my family’s office building. Shortly after, I came down with my first kidney stone. (Oddly, and forebodingly, my dad’s first was when he was twenty-nine.)

I’ve also been helping out with the family business, making bi-weekly trips to the county courthouse, driving by potential investment properties, and hours and hours of computer research. And let’s not forget what I actually get paid for: I’ve written most of the labs for my fall semester classes.

Read the rest of this entry »


Ignore Always

May 23, 2008

I just sent off an e-mail containing the elegant construction “Oh no [pronoun] di’n’t!” and was stopped by the spell checker. Now, I can only imagine the cringing you are doing reading that dead, beaten horse of a catch phrase, but when I was presented with the options of “Ignore,” “Ignore All,” or “Add” I had to think for a moment. After all, I’m pretty sure that “di’n’t” is the clearest way of expressing the non-word I intended, so in the future I might want my spell-checker to recognize it. On the other hand, it’s absolutely not a word so I really can’t see adding it. Therefore, I suggest a feature for those of us with grammatical neuroses — “Ignore Always.” That way, we don’t have to validate a word in any way when the spell checker runs. Of course, not using such words is unthinkable…

Anyways, the news is reporting that Read the rest of this entry »